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Articles tagged "Quebecois Literature"

New Fiction in Translation: 自害 (Jigai), Part 2

This is the second of two installments of Samuel Archibald's "自害 (Jigai)," from the short story collection Arvida, forthcoming in the US by Biblioasis on November 24. The collection has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize, Canada's largest award for fiction. Read the first installment here. 4 Reiko says: I did not invent the art; the art invented itself through me. In due course we became aware that certain wounds, as they healed,...

New Fiction in Translation: 自害 (Jigai)

This is the first of two installments of Samuel Archibald's "自害 (Jigai)," from the short story collection Arvida, forthcoming in the US from Biblioasis on November 24. The collection has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize, Canada's largest award for fiction.   The men say: She came from the ends of the earth with pebbles in her pockets. We never knew anything else. Very little, in any case. She came from the ends of the earth with...

In Search of the End of the World

I was brought into the world on a day of black misery. My mother, desperate and drained of strength, was nothing but skin and bones. Her body had become a frozen desert. She died in her struggle to give me life. Hunger was my first companion, and it has never left me since. It is always there, in my belly, relentlessly plaguing and torturing me within. My grandmother, old Kokum, the village midwife, attended my mother during the birth. Apparently I was no bigger than a young hare....

The Zacharias Ascaris Affair

It all began five years ago, going on six. Ballast Publishing, a fledgling British publishing house, had just launched the first (and last) novel of its catalog, The Zacharias Ascaris Affair. No one, absolutely no one, could have foreseen the upheaval that this book would set in motion. Admittedly, the adventures of the young Zacharias Ascaris, though narrated with an undeniable flair for suspense, were in no way extraordinary. A group of adolescents, a few twists, a love story, a touch...

Welcome to the Club

It was a spring evening and Dylane had invited us to her apartment in Rosemont, which she’d bought a few months earlier. It was the first time we were going to see it, so Hélène suggested we buy a plant she could transport by car, and we’d all contribute what we could. The choucroûte garnie on the table was ridiculously outsized, and we wondered how we’d make our way through it. With summer on the way, we were all watching our weight and picked at our...

from “Reunion”

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Don't move. You're bleeding.


Unagi

On July 16, 2009, a young woman who was dining out with her husband in a Japanese restaurant in downtown Montreal died instantly when a concrete block fell from the front of the building and landed exactly where she was seated. This is not her story. She looked at her watch (5:15 p.m.), then brought to her lips the glass of water the waiter had just set in front of her. There was a small stain on the cuff of his white shirt that could have been soy sauce. The smell of chlorine filled...

Two Faces

Eyes closed, I see again the delicate edens growing in the frost on the windowpanes. Luminous garlands woven into the snow-covered railings during the festive season to celebrate the birth of a child-god. The bloody flame of the burner glowing red through the window of the oil-fired boiler cast onto the walls glimmers of the eternal cremation of souls. Our mother’s wigs made from the hair of Filipinas killed during the war. Our socks which she mended with eelskin. The crickets our...

In Praise of the Margins

It’s not easy to paint a faithful picture of a literature in only a few words. And so, rather than presenting a broad overview of the current Quebec literary scene, I propose to bring to your attention a few recent works that embody the unique character of our “small literature”—small in the sense that it exists on the margins of the French language literary capital (Paris), and of North America, whose lingua franca is, of course, English. After a long period...

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